NASCAR playoffs at New Hampshire picks, odds: Larson fastest in practice, Kyle Busch is on the pole

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs continue on Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway with just two races to go in the Round of 16. Martin Truex Jr. has already locked in his spot for the Round of 12, taking the checkered flag at Chicagoland but who will be the next to join him?

Here are our picks for Sunday's ISM Connect 300 at The Magic Mile.

Winner: Kyle Larson

One thing we've learned from Larson this season is that if he has the speed, it doesn't matter if he's won at a track before. He earned first-time checkered flags at Fontana and Richmond in addition to sweeping the Michigan races, where of course he won his first career race last season. Larson finished second to Denny Hamlin here earlier in the year by just .509 seconds and is set to start the race this Sunday from the same position behind Kyle Busch. To put the icing on the cake, the No. 42 was fastest in both practices leading up to the race. Hedge your bets on Larson who is an 8-to-1 favorite to win this weekend according to VegasInsider.com. 

Contenders: Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick

We really wanted to add Ryan Blaney to this list given his fourth-place qualifying effort and top five run in practice but we're going with experience here. Busch snagged his eighth pole of the season and second straight in the playoffs and there is virtually no reason to bet against him other than penalties. Rowdy was in position to dominate the race last week after winning Stage 1, but suffered a costly penalty in Stage 2 for having a member of his pit crew jump over the wall too early. That put him a lap down and out of contention for the race. All that said, Busch has two career wins here and has showed us that he has the speed to win all week. As for Harvick, he won this race in the playoffs last year and lines up in the sixth position on Sunday. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevy was impressive in the playoff opener last week as well, finishing third overall and second in a stage won by Chase Elliott, who saw his finish become encumbered after an unapproved modification was discovered. Expect this former champion to compete again this weekend.

Wild Card: Kasey Kahne

It's been a crazy week for Kahne, who announced he'd be joining Leavine Family Racing next season to replace Michael McDowell in the No. 95 car. He is coming off a lackluster 21st-place finish at Chicagoland and is currently below the cut line for the Round of 12. That being said, he has a former champion as his crew chief now in Darian Grubb and it seems like they have something going. The No. 5 ran inside the top 10 in both practices and is set to start the race from the ninth position. Besides Grubb essentially auditioning for a crew chief role with a Hendrick car next season (Byron, Elliott likely candidates), Kahne does have some experience at New Hampshire on his own having won here in 2012. At 33-to-1, Kahne is worth a look this weekend.

Odds to win the 2017 ISM Connect 300 at NHMS

Betting odds for Sunday's race according to VegasInsider.com

  • Martin Truex Jr. 7/2
  • Kyle Busch 5/1
  • Denny Hamlin 6/1
  • Kyle Larson 8/1
  • Jimmie Johnson 8/1
  • Matt Kenseth 10/1
  • Brad Keselowski 12/1
  • Kevin Harvick 12/1
  • Chase Elliott 16/1
  • Joey Logano 20/1
  • Jamie McMurray 25/1
  • Ryan Blaney 25/1
  • Kurt Busch 25/1
  • Kasey Kahne 33/1
  • Daniel Suarez 33/1
  • Erik Jones 33/1
  • Trevor Bayne 50/1
  • Clint Bowyer 50/1
  • Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 50/1
  • Ryan Newman 50/1
  • Dale Earnhardt Jr. 50/1
  • Austin Dillon 100/1
  • Paul Menard 100/1
  • David Ragan 100/1
  • Aric Almirola 100/1
  • AJ Allmendinger 125/1
  • Chris Buescher 150/1
  • Danica Patrick 250/1

ISM Connect 300 starting lineup

  1. Kyle Busch (two career wins at NHMS)
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Denny Hamlin (three career wins at NHMS)
  4. Ryan Blaney
  5. Martin Truex Jr.
  6. Kevin Harvick (two career wins at NHMS)
  7. Kurt Busch (three career wins at NHMS)
  8. Erik Jones
  9. Kasey Kahne (one career win at NHMS)
  10. Matt Kenseth (three career wins at NHMS)
  11. Jamie McMurray 
  12. Jimmie Johnson (three career wins at NHMS)
  13. Brad Keselowski (one career win at NHMS)
  14. Chase Elliott
  15. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
  16. Clint Bowyer (two career wins at NHMS)
  17. Austin Dillon
  18. Ryan Newman (three career wins at NHMS)
  19. Paul Menard
  20. AJ Allmendinger
  21. David Ragan
  22. Chris Buescher
  23. Trevor Bayne
  24. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  25. Daniel Suarez
  26. Matt DiBenedetto
  27. Danica Patrick
  28. Landon Cassill
  29. Aric Almirola
  30. Ty Dillon
  31. Michael McDowell
  32. Cole Whitt
  33. Corey LaJoie
  34. Gray Gaulding
  35. Reed Sorenson
  36. Brett Moffitt
  37. Jeffrey Earnhardt
  38. Cody Ware
  39. Joey Logano (two career wins at NHMS)

BOLD - indicates NASCAR playoff driver

2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs standings

POSITION

DRIVER

CAR #

POINTS

BEHIND

WINS

1.

Martin Truex Jr.

78

2102

LEADER

5

2.

Kyle Larson

42

2075

-27

4

3.

Kevin Harvick

4

2067

-35

1

4.

Brad Keselowski

2

2061

-41

2

5.

Kyle Busch

18

2061

-41

2

6.

Denny Hamlin

11

2058

-44

2

7.

Jimmie Johnson

48

2046

-56

3

8.

Chase Elliott

24

2044

-58

0

9.

Matt Kenseth

20

2039

-63

0

10.

Ryan Blaney

21

2034

-68

1

11.

Jamie McMurray

1

2031

-71

0

12.

Austin Dillon

3

2026

-76

1

13.

Kurt Busch

41

2026

-76

1

14.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

17

2022

-80

2

15.

Kasey Kahne

5

2021

-81

1

16.

Ryan Newman

31

2019

-83

1

How to watch the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series ISM Connect 300

Location: New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Date: Sunday, Sept. 24
Time: 2 p.m. ET
Length: 300 laps/317.4miles
Stage 1: Ends on lap 75
Stage 2: Ends on lap 150
Final stage: Scheduled for lap 300
TV: NBCSN
Live stream: NBC Sports AppTwitter (Kurt Busch dashboard)

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